Intrepid couple attack the root cause of child obesity

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Israel and Belinda Smith and their children Rilien, 6, and Indrani, 10, arrived in Broome last week in their big green bus, named Kaley.
Camera IconIsrael and Belinda Smith and their children Rilien, 6, and Indrani, 10, arrived in Broome last week in their big green bus, named Kaley. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

A Sydney couple dedicated to fighting childhood obesity visited Broome last week to spread a very simple message — eat proper food.

Belinda and Israel Smith, founders of the Root Cause organisation, sold their apartment and left Sydney in October, 2015, in a purpose-built motorhome with their children Rilien, 6, and Indrani, 10.

Since then, they have been travelling around the country in their bus, Kaley, running workshops to try to change the statistic of one in four Australian children being overweight or obese.

Mrs Smith ran three of the Mad Food Science workshops in Broome at Kimberley Kids Early Learning Centre, Broome Daycare Centre and a public event at the Mercure.

The workshops target children, rather than parents, as Mrs Smith believes that is the best way to make the message stick. “We spread our message in a fun way,” she said.

“My goal is to encourage them to make better food choices by making fruit and vegetables seem cool because we only have one body for life.”

Mrs Smith said she wholeheartedly believed what she taught the children, because her family had experienced the impact food could have on a person’s wellbeing.

Mr Smith was diagnosed with depression after the birth of their son Rilien six years ago and Mrs Smith said she discovered the impact food choices were having on her husband and made a commitment to her children’s health after this.

“We changed what our children were eating and it impacted their behaviour,” she said. “My daughter was teased at school once we only packed healthy foods.

“As a health coach, I was asked to present to the kids in the class and it received such positive feedback from parents. “After that the workshops really took off.”

The family leave Broome today for Kununurra.

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